« PreviousContinue »
gospel ; it is obviously the doctrine of the church; it is fully acknowledged by all who sincerely use that form of prayer, which is established by the authority not only of those who composed it, but of those, who ever since its composition, even to the present day, retain it in the divine service.
Bishop Gibson, who was certainly a zealous friend to the Church of England, has collected a number of passages from the liturgy, to show that the public offices of the church are duly regardful of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit.
“ In the daily service, we pray God to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit-to replenish the king with the grace of his Holy Spirit—to endue the royal family with his Holy Spirit-to send down upon our bishops and curates, and all congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of his grace—that the catholic church may be guided and governed by his good Spirit, and that the fellowship of the Holy Ghost may be ever with us.
“In the Litany we pray that God will illuminate all bishops, priests, and deacons with the true knowledge and understanding of his word-will endue us with the grace of his Holy Spirit, and that we may all bring forth the fruits of the Spirit.
“ In the Collects we pray that God will grant us the true circumcision of the Spirit, that our hearts
pursue, and the way to pursue it? Wherever true holiness exists, there also exists great philosophy, and no common kind and degree of erudition.
* But yet among persons thus excellently learned, those are pre-eminent to whom it is given, by the Spirit's bountiful mercy, to instruct many in the ways of righteousness; on whom God has bestowed lips, not adorned with the meretricious arts of heathen eloquence, but richly furnished, by the unction of the Spirit, with heavenly grace.”
and all our members being mortified from all worldly and carnal lusts, we may in all things obey his blessed will—that God will send his Holy Ghost, and pour into our hearts the most excellent gift of charity-that we may ever obey the godly motions of the Spirit in righteousness and true holiness—that by his holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by his merciful guiding may perform the same—that God will not leave us comfortless, but send to us his Holy Ghost to comfort us—that by his Spirit we may have a right judgment in all things, and evermore rejoice in his holy comfort—that his Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts—that he will cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of his Holy Spirit.
“ In the Office for Confirmation, we pray for the persons to be confirmed, that God will strengthen them with the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and daily increase in them his manifold gifts of grace, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true godliness—that he will fill them with the spirit of his holy fear—and that they may daily increase in his Holy Spirit more and more.”
The articles of original sin, free-will, and justification, evince that the Church of England maintains the doctrine of light, sanctity, and life, derivable from the operation of the Holy Ghost. And there is a curious passage in a book, written by archbishop Cranmer and the Committee of Divines, entitled “Necessary Erudition for a Christian Man," which fully declares, that, “ besides many other evils that came by the fall of man, the high power of man's reason and freedom of will
were wounded and corrupted; and all men thereby brought into such blindness and infirmity, that they cannot eschew sin, except they be illuminated and made free by an especial grace, that is to say, by supernatural help and working of the Holy Ghost.” 1
There can be no doubt, in the mind of an impartial inquirer, that the church teaches the doctrine of supernatural influence in plain and strong terms; and that it derives it from the holy Scriptures. “For it is by the Spirit of wisdom that our understandings are enlightened: it is by the Spirit that we are rooted and grounded in love, and that our souls are purified in obeying the truth; it is by the Spirit that we are called unto liberty; for where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty; in a word, it is by the Spirit that all our infirmities are helped, and that we are strengthened with might in the inner man."?
“Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” Our blessed Saviour opened the understandings of his disciples, that they might understand the Scriptures. The Lord opened the heart of Lydia, that she attended to the things that were spoken of Paul. The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the Spirit of
| This book was published by Henry VIII. 1543, and approved by the Lords spiritual and temporal and the lower House of Parliament.
Eph. i. 17. 1 Pet. i. 22. Gal. v. 13. 2 Cor. iii. 17. Rom. viii. 26. Ephes. iii. 16, 17.
wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.-No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.–For by grace ye are saved through faith ; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.
If there be meaning in words, these passages evince the reality and necessity of internal illumination from the great fountain of light. And what says the homily of the church? “In reading of God's word, he most profiteth, not always that is most ready in turning of the book, or in saying of it without the book, but he that is most turned into it, that is, most inspired with the Holy Ghost.” In the same homily, a passage from Chrysostom is quoted to the following purport : “ Man's human and worldly wisdom and science is not needful to the understanding of Scripture, but the revelation of the Holy Ghost, who inspireth the true meaning unto them that with humility and diligence do seek therefore.”
In the ordination office, the bishop says to the candidates for priest's orders, “ Ye cannot have a mind or will thereto of yourselves, for the will and ability is given of God alone. Therefore ye ought and have need to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit. You will continually pray to God
John, xv. 5. Acts, xvi. 14. Ephes. i. 17, 18. xii. 3. Luke, xxiv. 45. I Cor. ii. 14. 2 Cor. iv. 6.
the Father, by the mediation of our only Saviour Jesus Christ, for the heavenly assistance of the Holy Ghost.”
A great number of citations might be brought to prove that the doctrine of grace or supernatural assistance is established by the church in exact conformity to the Scriptures;' but it is not necessary to insist on a truth which is evident to every one who reads the Common-prayer Book and the Bible.
On the Means of obtaining the - Evidence of Chris
tianity, afforded by the Holy Spirit.
I now come to the most important part of my subject. I have produced, as I intended, the unexceptionable authority of great and good men, most eminent divines, to countenance and support me in recommending, above all other evidence, the evidence of the Holy Ghost, to the truth of Christianity. After the suffrages of such men in favour of this sublime doctrine, no man can justly call it heterodox or improperly enthusiasti
| It never can be consistent with the character of an honest man solemnly to subscribe to the doctrines of grace, seriously to pray in the church for divine influence, and then to teach and preach against the whole doctrine.